Okay, I must begin this by admitting that I have no idea what to post about today….

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this to you, but there are times when I have nothing.  I think it may be because there is so much going on in my life. 

– My three youngest kids start school on Monday (we have a modified year-round school calendar).  My daughter Ruthie, begins Jr. High and is understandably nervous.  We went shopping yesterday for some new clothes and shoes.

– We have guests arriving tomorrow from Kansas City who we will be entertaining for the weekend.  There is a very special story behind these people and my daughter Ruthie.  I can’t wait to share it with you later 🙂

– I just finished writing 4 gardening articles and have one more left to go.

– We are busy helping my in-laws each week with miscellaneous tasks around their home.  My father-in-law is continuing to suffer more debilitating effects from ALS.


However, with all of this going on, my garden is thriving.  I thought that I would share with you some summer things that you should do in your garden.  


It is from an article that I wrote earlier this month for a local community newsletter.  I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Thankfully, there is not a lot of things to be done in the garden during the hot Southwest summer, but there are some tasks that are important this time of year.  

I recommend going out into your garden during the early morning hours to do these tasks, as I do, or at dusk, once the sun begins to set to avoid the extremely hot period of the day. So, put on your hat, sunscreen, gloves and sunglasses and let’s get started.

Succulents: Cacti, agave, yucca and other succulent plants can suffer from both the extreme heat and sun of summer, especially on the side of the plant that points toward the southwest. Signs of heat damage include a yellowing of your succulents. If your succulents are not connected to your irrigation, they need to be watered to a depth of one to two feet. Larger succulents such as saguaro, ocotillo and yuccas need to be watered to three feet deep. Do this once this month and again in August. 

This can be easily done by simply placing your hose next to the plant and barely turning the water on so that the water trickles out slowly. Leave the water on for at least an hour and then check to see if you need to leave the water on for longer.

Shrubs: Make sure that your shrubs are receiving enough water. They should be watered to a depth of 2 feet each time you water. Avoid fertilizing this time of year since this creates more stress for your plants, which are struggling to handle the heat of summer. You can deadhead spent flowers from your shrubs to promote additional bloom, but avoid pruning away any foliage at this time of year. Spider mites can become a problem this time of year. Look for any tiny webs, which are a sign of these tiny mites. Controlling them is easy since they like to hide in the dust, so spray your plants every few days with water to help keep the mites from becoming established.

Trees: Avoid planting any trees this month, except for palms. Mature, established trees require deep watering this time of year, especially if they are not connected to your irrigation system. This should be done once a month in summer, watering to a depth of 3 feet. Using a hose, allow water to slowly trickle out around the drip line of the tree (where the branches end, not against the trunk) which is where the roots are located. You may need to move the hose so that you water around the entire tree. You can skip one watering if you receive 1 inch of rainfall, which replaces a single irrigation. 

As the increased humidity, (25 – 33% humidity is considered high in the desert), makes it more uncomfortable for us to go outside, it helps to keep in mind that plants just love the extra moisture even if it is only in the air around them.


**I hope you find this helpful.  I wanted to also tell you about a fabulous sight that I saw on our vacation.  I blogged about it on my Birds & Blooms blog.  



 

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

6 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I just discovered your blog – and so far am enjoying it very much. We live in Central Alberta Canada, and…believe it or not [considering our climate], enjoy cacti and succulents very much. We have a collection that's easing toward the 100 mark. I particularly enjoy how you end your blog entries with a question – to promote a two way dialogue in the process. Thanks very much Noelle!

  2. Pam's English Garden
    Pam's English Garden says:

    Dear Noelle, A very helpful posting, thank you. Sorry I haven't visited lately. Today, in the Northeast we are suffering a heat index of 110, so no gardening – catching up on some blogs. Love your Birds and Blooms blog. P. x

  3. Gardens at Waters East
    Gardens at Waters East says:

    Noelle, Each time I look into your Blog I always learn something. That is a good thing as they say! Though are climates are so very different ( well not for the last week, it has been so very hot) I like to see how the other half lives. Maybe the heat and humidity have been part of the reason for the beautiful sunrises and sunsets here on the shore of Lake MIchigan these past days, that is me being an optimist looking for the bright side of a really hot summer. I'll see you soon. Jack

  4. Gentiana nivalis
    Gentiana nivalis says:

    Elephant eye recommended me to read your blog about the spider mites on the shrubs. I have sometimes problems with those on my plants on my balcony. I put myself as a follower.

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